41 - Rasa in Ayurveda

Discussion on Rasa shastra (tastes)

The rishis and munis:
Atreya, bhadrakaapya, shakuntay, poornaksh, hiranyaksh, kumarshira, vayovirdh, nimi, badish, kankayan, all these wise men came to jungle chaitra ratha. They started talking about rasas.

Bhadrakapya said:
There is only one rasa which all pundit call to experience from the senses.

It is in the tongue. It is the water!

Shakuntaye said:
Rasa are two. one which creates an imbalance and which brings about a balance.

Poornaksh said:
Rasas are three types: the one that aggrevate, other pacifies and third that makes no difference.

Hiranyaksha said:
The rasas are of four categories: bhaum (related to land), adak (related to water), aagneya (related to fire) , Vyavya (related to air), and antariksha (space).

In other words. Panchamahabhoota have respective 5 rasas.

Vaayovird said:
They are six, heavy, light, cold, warm, smooth and dry.

Nimi said:
they are seven. Sweet, sour, salty, spicy, astringent, bitter and tart.

Badish said:
Rasas are eight.

Sweet, sour, salty, spicy, bitter, tart, saltry and the one which tongue cannot identify. Tasteless.

Kankayana said:
Rasas are endless types. because of infinite combinations of different substances there are infinite type of rasas.

Lord atreya said:
rasas are only six, sweet, sour, salt, spicy, butter and tart. All these come from the water.

they have two types of actions. Either pacify or aggrevate.

Tasty or dislikeness. Interest and disinterest, Liking and disliking are the karmas of the rasas.

The objects that are made up of panchmahabhootas (sky, air, fire, water and earth) are the carriers of the Rasas. These rasa have different quality according to time, season, country, etc.

When we cook the food the property of the food changes. For instance rice become soft and oily after boiling, differnt qualities when cooked.

This is the change. If you eat honey and Ghee in equal quantity then it becomes like a poison. In other words the result of a food will depend, place, time and body.

Food and land relation:
Food with similar qualities grow on similar land. It also depends upon the season. For example, some fruits ripe after a certain season.

These rasas exist in various substances as Guru, short, cold, oily and dry forms.

Is Kshar (acidic) a taste?
Kshar or acid is not a taste. It tears or removes things. That's why it is called

Kshar is a combination of different types of Rasas, in which salt and sour are prominent

Kshar can be created from cooking, boiling, mixing in water, roasting or fermentation.

Rasas are sensed by the tongue when they come in liquid form. Or when they come in contact with Saliva in the mouth.

Rasa Description:
There are only 6 rasas. Everything else is just a combination of these.

Just because these Rasas can have infinite combinations that does not mean that rasas are infinite in number too!

Even when you mix two Rasas the individual rasa can be identfied. For example sour and sweet.

In the nature everything is based on three main Qualities Viz RAja, Tama and Sata. Everything in the world is made up of these qualities BUT the number of Gunas or the qualities remain three!

The same is with RAsas. There could be many types of Rasas available. But the everything is based on the six main type of RAsas.

Classification of Substances
All Dravyas or (substances) are made up of pancha mahabhoota. Viz Land, water, air, fire and sky.

They are of two types: first is Chetana and Achetana (one with sense and one without senses)

Paarthiv Dravya: the ones which are hard, static and in a solid state are paarthiv dravya.

These dravyas increase muscles in the body. Brings stability in the health.

Jaleeya Dravya (liquid form)
These substances are soft, liquid, cool and sweet.

The uses of liquid dravyas: bonding, making a dough, and prahalada (calm the mind and senses).

Agneya dravya (Fire elements)
these are hot, acidic, dry. These are used for burning, cooking, roasting and creating light.

Vyavya dravya /Air elements:
short, dry, fast, cannot be touched or seen are air elements. These are known for dryness, thoughts, spreading and reducing the weight.

Everything in this world is a medicine!
There is no element in this planet which is not a medicine. A harmful substance may become very beneficial in special case or exceptional condition. A substance changes its qualities when used along with other substance.

Karma is the work done by the substance.
  • veerya is the quality of substance because of which it does that.
  • Kaala is the time when it is used.
  • Upaaya is the method it is used
  • phala is the resultof that substance

This way there are 63 types of Rasas. Depending upon the Karma, veerya, kaala, upaaya and phala. (action, property, time, method and result)

Mixing of the rasas:

Introduction: in this chapter more details are given on various rasas (tastes) which come from combination of the basic types of rasas.]

Rasa = taste /juice

Sweet juice is made from five rasas. Madhuraml (sweet, sour), sweet Alaon (sweet snacks), sweet-bitter (bitter sweet), sweet-pungent (sweet charpara) and sweet Kahaye (sweet brackish)

Juice four juice is combined with acid. Alaon bitter (salted kadwa), Alaon pungent (salted charpara),

In short using different combination of various juices different juice combincations can be made.

Description of all these combinations is given in the document.

Rasa in the medicines-
Each medicine consists of group of Rasas. For example ghee has only one taste i.e sweet. Honey consists two rasas. Alcohol has five rasas.

Rasa ki prateeti:
Prateeti is the first taste of the rasa when it comes in contact with the tongue. Anurasa is the taste which in sensed after a few seconds.

For example, amla tastes sour initially but sweet later on.

The qualities of combination of Rasas
Tastes in combination can have individual effect as a medicine. One must understand different tastes as it helps in understanding the nature of result attained from that eatable.

Details like quantity, time, result etc must be kept in mind before formulating a treatment plan.

Yukti is a well formated "plan" on how the rasas would be used. It is important to create a well thought out recipe.

To count the rasas, the quanitity is important as well.

Sanyoga :
Mixing of two rasas in sanyoga.

to divide the different part separate.

Differences between the rasas and their combinations.

the unit used for measurement.

To process the rasa or the medicine to make it more helpful, appropriate and usable.

Practice is regular repition of any action in regular intervals.

Exercise, chanting, yoga, purification of chitta*, all these get worked out by practice only.

Next page- origination of the rasas
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